Regardless of the brand, every smartphone owner can ask the same question: how long will my smartphone last? Indeed, these devices are not precisely cheap, and a battery replacement is harder to get than before. The lack of support concerning security and software updates, broken screens, degradation of batteries, physical damage, and outdated internal hardware makes the average smartphone last 2-3 years.

In this article, we will share how long smartphones last, which are the factors that reduce their lifespan, and what you can do to increase functional life.

Your Smartphone Should Last a Minimum of 2-3 Years

The average smartphone lasts from two to three years, and consumers will usually replace it in an average of a little over two years. This number varies depending on the phone model, but it’s safe to say that most people should expect to have at least one device with a lifetime of 3 years.

So, if you buy a new smartphone in 2022, you may be able to use it until 2024 or 2025 without major issues. It all depends on your usage habits and the quality of the device itself. If you don’t take care of your phone, it could break down much sooner than expected.

The Lifespan of Refurbished Smartphones and OS Support

The average lifespan doesn’t apply to a refurbished model from the moment the previous owner used it for the first time. In this case, a refurbished phone has been thoroughly examined, its battery replaced if needed, and all components fixed and cleaned to be in perfect working condition. As a consequence, you need to consider how much support the handset has left apart from its durability—in other words, if security updates and other app updates are still being installed or not.

According to a study from Yale, brand name matters more than hardware when it comes to smartphone lifespan. For example, Apple has been known for supporting iPhones for many years, and models as old as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S are still receiving operating system updates as of 2022. We also have to consider that, as the study suggests, phones are being replaced when they are still in good working condition. Therefore, improving repairability wouldn’t help that much.

Phone charging with a red background

Factors That Affect the Average Lifespan of Your Smartphone

Several factors affect the lifespan of a smartphone. Some of them are related to the manufacturer, while others depend on the user. Let’s see what those factors are and how they influence the average lifespan of a smartphone.

Battery Life

As mentioned above, the average lifespan of a mobile phone is approximately 2-3 years. However, manufacturers tend to focus on ensuring that users enjoy an excellent performance during the whole period. So, even though they often provide longer battery lives, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone will last longer.

Smartphones rely heavily on power consumption, especially when using apps. You’ll find that some of the most popular applications consume up to half of the total energy available in the battery with extensive use. Unfortunately, a phone battery degrades over time with continuous use. You can know the number of charge cycles of cell phones installing third-party apps on the device and know its battery health.

If you want to extend the lifespan of your smartphone, then you need to reduce the amount of data you send through Wi-Fi networks, turn off Bluetooth whenever possible, and limit screen brightness. These tips can save you between 5% and 15% battery life. Also, don’t forget to close apps running in the background that you don’t need.

Screen Resolution

Another factor that affects the lifespan of your smartphone is the resolution of its display. The higher the resolution, the better the picture quality, but it also uses more energy. Even though screens get brighter every year, high resolutions drain batteries faster.

That said, there are ways to improve the lifespan of your smartphone without compromising too much on image quality. One of these methods is called dynamic scaling, which means displaying an entire website at a full size where the browser would load just enough information to fit into the current viewport. This way, you could avoid wasting energy by loading unnecessary content.

In addition, you could use tools like Google Chrome to scale down websites based on your device automatically. Another option is to reduce unnecessary screen time with TV shows or YouTube videos you can watch on other devices, such as a smart TV.

Software Updates

One of the main reasons why people upgrade their smartphones is to receive new software versions and to be able to run them properly with modern hardware. However, if you’re not careful, you might end up with a buggy version of an app that drains your battery faster than expected.

For example, overheating is a common problem on Android phones. If you’re having this problem, try disabling the automatic background update feature or returning to the previous OS version.

Other issues include bugs, security vulnerabilities, and missing features. In general, you should always check out the official support page of the software before installing any update and ensure that the version is stable before downloading it.

Phone broken screen

Physical Damage

The third reason why people upgrade their phones is to replace damaged parts. Unfortunately, smartphones are prone to physical damage such as scratches, cracks, and broken glass. If you drop your phone, you should immediately take care of the damage.

To prevent damage from occurring in the first place and increase your phone’s durability, use screen protectors from day one. It’s not a guarantee that it will not break if you drop it, but it could certainly save you some precious bucks.

How Do You Know if Your Phone Is Dying?

The following are indicators that your phone may have lived its best days:

  1. It will only hold a battery charge for a few hours (low battery health or another battery issue).
  2. The phone overheats or cannot maintain moderate temperatures.
  3. The operating system doesn’t function well, has a laggy performance, or crashes apps.
  4. The manufacturer doesn’t support it with security updates anymore.
  5. The phone doesn’t have the required specs to run updated apps.
  6. The screen is shattered or doesn’t respond as it should.
  7. Apps are no longer compatible with your OS.
  8. The headphone jack is unreliable, or you have problems connecting your headphones.
  9. The device constantly reboots itself.
  10. The camera takes too long to take a photo.

Buying Refurbished Products Is an Excellent Alternative

If you need to replace your phone, buying a refurbished model is a good alternative when you need a reliable machine with a solid performance at a lower price. These devices are usually cheaper than brand-new models, and they come with warranty coverage. Since they have been reconditioned, their durability is high, and you will be contributing to the circular economy while getting the same performance as a brand-new model.

On RefurbMe, we specialize in comparing hundreds of refurbished Apple devices from multiple reputable merchants. Take a look at an example below showing all iPhones in excellent condition and compatible with the latest iOS 15: